February 12, 2013
Pope Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger) on the Gospel's call to justice
Like Lisa, my only personal encounter with Joseph Ratzinger was a few weeks before his election as Pope, when he celebrated Mass at St. Peter's for those attending a confernce on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Gaudium et Spes. In his homily that day, he said:
... We should not be surprised if the attitudes toward Jesus, that we find in the Gospel, continue today in attitudes toward his Church. It is certainly true that today, when the Church commits herself to works of justice on a human level (and there are few institutions in the world which accomplish what the Catholic Church accomplishes for the poor and disadvantaged), the world praises the Church. But when the Church's work for justice touches on issues and problems which the world no longer sees as bound up with human dignity, like protecting the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death, or when the Church confesses that justice also includes our responsibilities
toward God himself, then the world not infrequently reaches for the stones mentioned in our Gospel today...
As Christians we must constantly be reminded that the call of justice is not something which can be reduced to the categories of this world. ...
And so, to be workers of this true justice, we must be workers who are being made just, by contact with Him who is justice itself: Jesus of Nazareth. The place of this encounter is the Church, nowhere more powerfully present than in her sacraments and liturgy. The celebration of the Holy Triduum, which we will enter into next week, is the triumph of God's justice over human judgments. In the mystery of Good Friday, God is judged by man and condemned by human justice. In the Easter Vigil, the light of God's justice banishes the darkness of sin and death; the stone at the tomb (made of the same material as the stones in the hands of those who, in today's Gospel, seek to kill Christ) is pushed away forever, and human life is given a future, which, in going beyond the categories of this world, reveals the true meaning and the true value of earthly realities. ...
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